This is the blog of children's book author and third grade teacher, Stacy Barnett Mozer. I blog about my own writing journey, the journey of other kidlit authors, my classroom, and talk about books. Thanks for stopping by. Your thoughts are always welcome (and encouraged).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Full of Crap

I recently had an interesting conversation with my third graders about the use of bad words in books. And by bad words, I'm not talking about the traditional curse words. They objected to words like crap, hell, and damn. The problem, they said, was that these are words that they are not allowed to say in front of their parents and they often read books to their parents.

What would they rather the characters say? Here are some of their suggestions:
- fudge muffins
- poop on a stick
- peacock
- fiddlesticks
- Go eat pie.

Darn it seemed to be okay as well.

What do you think of the use of bad words in middle grade books? Do you have any other substitution suggestions?


  1. Ha ha! I'll definitely use poop on a stick!

  2. I'm one of these rare baby boomers who to this day haven't used the F word in conversation, and have not a smidgen of a need to use such in writing, so I’m not unbiased. But there is an issue of what to do when the character so clearly requires these expressions in dialogue, and how to deal with it in MG.
    I like the imaginative (but punchy) suggestions you put here.

    1. Thanks, Mirka. I am not a fan of curse words in writing either. I never curse on this blog, on facebook, twitter, or any place else that can be overheard by kids, or adults I don't know. Which is why I was shocked that my students objected to my word choice. I thought I had used words that could be read aloud. But then they said, "Mrs. Mozer, your writing has too much crap in it." After we laughed about that, we had a great discussion that included the suggestions above.

  3. I like fudge muffins! I've never heard that one.

    New follower. :)

    1. Welcome, Kelly. Thanks for reading and saying hello! Fudge muffins was my favorite too. I think my class liked poop on a stick best.

  4. This makes me smile as I make up words for curse words. I try to avoid the words that I know many families do not want younger children to use and some that they do not want their older children to use. Awesome word suggestions! Although my mother did not like it when I used the word poop, as in when I called my brother a poop head. That was a long time ago. I wonder if pop on a stick would be better in some upper MG books or YA books that do not want to use cussing.


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